The Early Learning Challenge Collaborative
In May 2011, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a new $500 million state-level grant competition, The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge that seeks “to encourage states to develop bold and comprehensive plans for raising the quality of early learning programs across America.”
The Early Learning Challenge Collaborative (ELCC) is a partnership between BUILD, the leading early childhood systems building organization, and the First Five Years Fund, whose federal advocacy and education frame has strengthened the connection between early childhood and the K-12 community. The collaborative, funded by private foundation dollars, is working with and supporting states as they plan, apply for, and implement the Early Learning Challenge Grants. This includes Phase 1 and 2. The collaborative is also promoting state systems-building by shaping and informing state and federal policy on early childhood systems, and working to sustain the Early Learning Challenge and federal investments for young children and state systems that support them.
Working with other key partners including the Birth to Five Policy Alliance and early education and K-12 leaders, experts and visionaries, the ELCC is specifically:
- Cultivating a pool of outstanding state applications to the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge.
- Supporting states with sophisticated, relevant and individualized technical assistance, consultation services and information, with a further emphasis on creating learning communities among interested states.
- Promoting quality and the development of a robust cross-sector early childhood system connected to education outcomes in all states.
- Developing a coordinated federal policy and advocacy strategy to sustain funding and inform federal policy in this area, both short and long-term.
The Build Initiative, the leading early childhood systems building organization, spearheads the development and implementation of technical assistance to states for the Early Learning Challenge Collaborative.
Created in 2001 by the Early Childhood Funders’ Collaborative, BUILD supports state efforts to create comprehensive early childhood systems – coordinated, effective policies that address children's health, mental health and nutrition, early care and education, family support and parenting programs, and services for children with special needs.
States engaged in the Build Initiative are pioneers in a national movement to create a seamless framework of policies that promotes high quality services and incorporates what we know about brain development into best practices for care and learning.
For more information on the BUILD Initiative, click here
The First Five Years Fund
The First Five Years Fund, which works to strengthen the connections between early childhood and the K-12 community, leads the development and implementation of federal policy and advocacy strategy for the Early Learning Challenge Collaborative.
The First Five Years Fund helps America achieve better results in education, health, and economic productivity through investments in quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children from birth to age five. The FFYF provides knowledge, data, and advocacy, helping federal policymakers make investments in the first five years of a child’s life that create greater returns for all.
For more information on the First Five Years Fund, click here
The Birth to Five Policy Alliance
Established in 2005, the Birth to Five Policy Alliance promotes positive early learning, strong families, and good health for vulnerable children birth to age five. The Alliance invests in three strategies: strategic and broad-based leadership to build new champions for early childhood policy, state-based advocacy, and knowledge development and dissemination including research and policy analysis.
Early Learning Collaborative Funders
To date, the following funders have generously supported the collaborative:
Irving Harris Foundation